|Saturday, April 15, 2000,
Airways flights from Amritsar unlikely
on US Nagar to be opposed: Badal
to have two more canals: Sekhon
yatras mark Ambedkar jayanti
Bhavans in all districts: CM
move against Capt Amarinder
to work for Dalits
release from in-laws custody sought
roads Jalandhars bane
to help check Tullu pump use
medical centre opened
Singh gets Nishan-e-Khalsa
take to crime
found in temple pond
killed in road mishap
for attempted rape
British Airways flights from
JALANDHAR, April 14 It is difficult or rather impossible for British Airways to start any service from the newly christened Rajasansi international airport at Amritsar, says Mr Alan F. Briggs, General Manager, South Asia.
Talking to The Tribune here last night, Mr Briggs hailed the decision of the Union Government to declare existing airports at Amritsar (Rajasansi), Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Goa, Guwahati and Cochin as international airports, saying that aviation industry in India has a tremendous potential.
As per the last bilateral agreement between India and Great Britain over air services signed in February this year, British Airways has four destination points Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta and 22 flights a week out of India. In the near future, there is no programme for British Airways to extend its wings any new destination within India. At present we are operating only 16 flights a week out of India.
Very soon, British Airways would discontinue its operations to Dhaka in Bangladesh through India soon. This would make additional 25 per cent seats available to air passengers of the northern region.
We intend to introduce two additional flights each from New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to raise the number of our ex-India flights to 22 soon. Otherwise, we are viewing both Bangalore and Hyderabad as prospect destinations in near future to extend our operations in India, Mr Briggs said.
At present, the share of British Airways on ex-India flights to Europe is more than nine per cent. In the northern region, the share of the Punjab market is about 20 per cent, Mr Briggs said.
Mr Briggs, who has come to Punjab for the first time, said that the air traffic in India had been growing rapidly. Situation was much better in India compared to Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.
Talking about introducing flights from Amritsar, Mr Briggs said that for any international operator to have viable operations, certain percentage of first class and business traveller had to be generated.
If Punjab makes an international airport at a central place, say Ludhiana, there will be a big potential for international carriers to immediately launch their operations. Further, a town like Ludhiana can also generate both first class and business class traffic, he said.
About cargo operations, Mr Briggs said that there was a big potential for air carriers as Indian exports had been growing rapidly and there was a regular cargo flight from Hong Kong via Delhi to London.
He also disclosed that Qantas has appointed British Airways as its general sales agent (GSA) for India from May 1. For the Punjab market, he said, Nijhawan Travel Service would be the GSA for Qantas as well.
Mr Briggs said, his
airline pledged to pay Rs 300 per ticket sold in Punjab
between April 13 and July 13 last year in continuation of
its community programme for any major charity in the
state as its contribution towards the tercentenary
celebrations of the birth of Khalsa. Yesterday, he
presented a cheque of Rs 6 lakh towards the construction
of a building for Sanjeevani, a school for handicapped
Leaders claim credit for move on
JALANDHAR, April 14 The Lok Bhalai Party, headed by a former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, and the local MP, Mr Balbir Singh, today virtually vied with each other to claim that the announcement of upgradation of the Rajasansi Airport at Amritsar to the level of an international airport by the Union Cabinet yesterday was an outcome of their efforts.
In a statement here today, Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, the national General Secretary of the Lok Bhalai Party, dubbed the announcement as a big victory for his party, which it claimed had served an ultimatum on the state and the Central governments to announce the upgradation by April 13, failing which it would launch an agitation. He said the Central Government had bowed to the pressure mounted by his party and therefore had made an announcement in this regard.
On the other hand, Mr Balbir Singh, while welcoming the step taken by the Union Cabinet, claimed that it was the result of his efforts. He also welcomed the Centres nod for setting up of the Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy on the outskirts of the city on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road.
Similarly Mr Davinder
Singh Babbu, the president of the Punjab Pradesh Youth
Congress (PYC), has hailed the step taken by the
government. He demanded that both projects should be
completed at the earliest.
Move on US Nagar to be
JALANDHAR, April 14 The Punjab Chief Minister and the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today asserted that his party would effectively oppose any move to include Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed Uttranchal state.
Mr Badal, who was speaking to mediapersons here, said he had written to Union Minister George Fernandes, who is also chairman of the high-powered committee constituted to discuss the future of Udham Singh Nagar, to summon a meeting of the committee.
Interestingly, not a single meeting of the committee has been held so far, informed sources say.
Lashing out at his detractors, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Badal said a majority of his party MLAs stood behind him.
Punjab to have two more canals:
BATHINDA, April 14 Punjab Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon today said the Punjab Government would construct two canals in the state to provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes to the people at the cost of Rs 412 crore.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sekhon said these two canals Hithar and Dashmesh would be dug up in Ferozepore-Faridkot districts and Ropar-Patiala districts, respectively.
The Central Government had agreed to fund 66 per cent of the total cost of this project. He said the Hithar canals would be completed within two years, It would be long while the Dashmesh canal would be completed within five years.
The capacity of the Hithra canal would be 1300 cusecs and its total cost was expected to be Rs 62 crore. The Dashmesh canals capacity would be 300 cusecs and its total cost was expected at around Rs 350 crore.
He said a report of inquiry conducted by a senior police official into the Rs. 2.5 crore irrigation scam had been submitted to the Home Secretary for necessary action.
A meeting of all Deputy Commissioners had been called at Chandigarh on April 18 to review flood protection measures, the minister informed.
Rallies, yatras mark Ambedkar
JALANDHAR, April 14 Accusing SAD-BJP government of pursuing anti-Dalit and anti-poor policies, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Chief Capt Amarinder Singh, today said the astronomical hike in school and college fee and the increase in the prices of essential commodities was a proof of it.
Capt Amarinder Singh, who was addressing a gathering at a function organised in connection with the 110th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today, said that instead of helping the weaker sections, the state government had made the lives of people miserable by increasing the fee and hospital charges. Do you think an ailing poor labourer can afford to pay hospital charges at the rate of Rs 100 a day? he questioned.
He alleged that due to the governments wrong policies, the industry in the state was on the brink of closure, leading to sharp increase in the rate of unemployment. He claimed that there were 2.4 lakh unemployed youth in Punjab and the situation was going to be worse with the cut on their entry in armed forces.
Mr Jagjit Singh, the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, alleged that the state government had stopped scholarships to Dalit students. He said the SAD-BJP government had discarded the proposal mooted by the previous Congress governments regarding construction of Ambedkar Bhavans at district headquarters.
Among those who spoke were the former PPCC presidents, Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Tejpal Singh and Mr Amarjit Samra, all MLAs.
AMRITSAR: The birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar was celebrated with enthusiasm by the B.R. Ambedkar Yadgaar Committee here on Friday, Mr Sohan Lal Amrohi, president of the committee, said.
The statue of Dr Ambedkar was garlanded by Mr Baldev Raj Chawla, State Minister for Health, and Mr Om Parkash Soni, MLA.
Mr Sohan Lal urged Mr Chawla to present to the government the committees demand to release the funds to the tune of Rs 80 lakh for the proposed Ambedkar Bhavan which had already been sanctioned.
In another proposal, the committee demanded that an engineering college be named after Dr Ambedkar on the lines of the Engineering University at Jalandhar.
Meanwhile, Shri Guru Ravi Dass Welfare Trust too celebrated the birth anniversary under the presidentship of Mr Subhash Chander Amrohi. Mr R.L Bhatia, MP, was the chief guest. The trust took out an inaugural procession before paying respect at the statue of Dr Ambedkar.
LUDHIANA: The Nationalist Congress Party, Punjab, organised a rally to mark the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar. This rally was addressed by the Vice-President of the party, Mr Subhash Chander Tandon, Mr Pawan Verma, its youth wing vice-president Shiv Soni and others.
PHAGWARA: A shobha yatra-cum-peace-and-chetna march was taken out here to mark Dr Ambedkars birth anniversary.
It started from Chak Hakim villages historic shrine of Guru Ravi Das and concluded at Budh Vihar.
Ambedkar Bhavans in all
JALANDHAR, April 14 Paying floral tributes to the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, on his 110th birth anniversary, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced that the state government was going to set up Ambedkar Bhavans at all district headquarters of Punjab.
Mr Badal, who was speaking at a state level function at the local Ambedkar Bhavan, said each of these bhavans would be set up at a cost of Rs 1 crore. He said for the uplift of the weaker sections, Rs 312 crore would be spent under the Special Component Plan as compared to Rs 242 crore last year. He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the local Ambedkar Bhavan.
He said people should emulate Dr Ambedkar and follow his teachings as he was a great visionary and one of the makers of modern India. Dr Ambedkar always worked for the uplift of the poor and downtrodden and his ideas of liberty, national integrity, human dignity and fraternity played the role of lighthouses for every Indian. He lamented that after attaining freedom none of the central governments did much for the weaker sections.
The birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar was also celebrated by the Bahujan Samaj Morcha, headed by former MP Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, who organised a separate function at the local Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall today.
Paying tributes to Dr Ambedkar, Mr Kainth said whatever change there was among the Dalit community after Independence it was an outcome of the efforts of Dr Ambedkar. Whosoever was opposing the reservation policy for Dalits, for which Dr Ambedkar had to fight a long battle, could never be a friend of the Dalits. His party would act as a third force and he was going to strengthen its base in all 117 assembly constituencies of the state, he said.
No move against Capt
FEROZEPUR, April 14 The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) General Secretary, Mr Gurmit Singh Sodhi, has categorically ruled out that detractors of the party chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, are preparing a memorandum against him.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sodhi said that there was no move against the party president. He also denied that opponents of the party chief were gearing up to capture maximum number of posts in the PPCC elections to be held in June. He said due to health reasons the Congress leader, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, had left the conference at Talwandi Sabo on Thursday before Capt Amarinder Singh addressed the gathering.
The PPCC General Secretary said that he did not agree with an opinion of Ms Bhattal that Capt Amarinder Singh had a very narrow vision.
He claimed that the
Congress had lost the Nawanshahr seat only due to
large-scale rigging done by the ruling
alliance. When asked that the SHSAD led by Mr Gurcharan
Singh Tohra has a plan to get help from the like-minded
parties for launching a campaign against
corrupt policies of the SAD-BJP government.
Mr Sodhi said the executive of the PPCC would decide
whether to join the campaign or not.
BSM to work for Dalits
PHILLAUR, April 14 The Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) will practically work for small farmers, employees, labourers besides the Dalit. This was stated here today by the Morchas National President, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth. He condemned the BSP Chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, for opposing reservation, and opposed the Central Government for its move to review Constitution.
Mr Kainth said that the BSM would organise training camps at Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Faridkot, Firozepur, Moga, Muktsar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Ropar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur from middle of May.
A state-level conference will also be organised in all 117 Assembly constituencies of the state.
Mr Kainth demanded
implementation of the Mandal Commission report,
constitution of reservation Act, filling job backlogs. He
urged the state government to provide sufficient funds
for Dalit Welfare schemes.
Husbands release from
in-laws custody sought
CHANDIGARH, April 14 A newly-married woman has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court here for directing her in-laws to release her husband.
Taking up the petition filed by Ms Kiran of Ludhiana district, Mr Justice N.C. Khichi of the High Court has issued notice to the Punjab Advocate-General for April 24.
Claiming to have married Satnam Singh on April 2, the petitioner has alleged that her in-laws were not permitting her husband to live with her despite his willingness.
Accusing his in-laws Surti Singh and Kulwant Kaur, and their son, Karnail Singh, of illegally detaining her husband at Kothe Sher Jangh village in Ludhiana district, she has also alleged that her husband was forcibly taken away on April 7.
She added that the groom was staying with her at her residence before difference cropped up between the two families soon after the marriage.
JALANDHAR: Jalandhar appears to have no motorable roads worth the name either in the city or in district towns despite the hope extended a couple of months ago by the Central Government to release funds for the improvement of roads. The state government has made no effort to repair roads during the past several years.
The poor condition of rural and urban roads in different areas of Jalandhar district causes inconvenience to motorists and hardship to the common man using cycles and carts. The apathy of the PWD (B&R) and civic body is largely responsible for such road conditions.
As a result of frequent damages to town and rural link roads, cosmetic repairs have been carried out and no attention has been paid to roads during the past several years.
Even some of the national highways, including National Highway No 1 (Delhi-Lahore) where the Pakistan Tourism bus Sada-e-Sarhad passes through the Jalandhar-Nakodar-Noor-mahal-Phillaur route, are far below international standards as these have potholes, broken edges and depressions.
Journeys from Jalandhar to Bathinda via Moga by the Nakodar road give vehicle occupants not only a bumpy ride but causes problems to the elderly. It is an arduous task for ailing people to be driven on these roads.
A 200-metre portion of the Jalandhar-Nakodar road has become worn out with large metalled portions missing, making it difficult for a vehicle to pass even at a slow speed. Another portion of the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road, near Jandusingha, is equally unpleasant for road users. Besides potholes and depressions, a long portion of the Jalandhar-Kartarpur road, near Suranussi, is missing. The condition of the national highway, particularly between Jalandhar and Pathankot, to Jammu and Kashmir is extremely poor.
In the urban areas one major reason for the poor condition of roads is the frequent digging up. Regular digging up of roads to lay sewers or underground cables by the Telecom Department, affects citizens movements.
The residents of Gurunanakpura locality lament that the officials of Municipal Corporation and PWD (B&R) authorities are responsible for the poor condition of the city roads. They say the road, which links this area to the city, was dug up two years ago by the contractors to lay a sewer between Bashirpura and Garha, near Gurunanakpura railway crossing. They have not only failed to fill it up with earth but are also silent over the project to dispose of the sewage of the locality said one resident. Shopkeepers of the area allege that the project also hit their business. They are suffering a big loss while transporting their goods, because there is a narrow passage to cross a huge depression and four-wheelers cannot cross it. They have to manually transport goods.
On the other hand,
senior officials of the PWD (B&R) say on anonymity
that their hands are tied due to lack of grants from the
state government. However, the Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal,
points out that remedial measures would be taken to keep
the roads within the corporation limits in a motorable
Women to help check Tullu pump
PATIALA, April 14 To check the unauthorised use of Tullu pumps which is severely effecting the water supply in the city, the Municipal Corporation has decided to employ women staff in the drive against this menace.
The Corporation will include women in the squads checking the unauthorised use of tullu pumps. This is being done as an earlier drive against Tullu pumps had petered off as the all-male squad was met with resistance, with many households refusing to allow them to inspect their premises in the absence of their men folk.
The new squads have also been formed keeping in view the allegations of corruption against certain officials.
Corporation Commissioner K. S. Kang said the new drive would be started soon so that water could be distributed evenly in the city .
Mr Kang said the pumps were disrupting the water supply in the city which was otherwise adequate. He said the problem was faced by those at the tail end of supply who did not get water at the requisite pressure due to the illegal use of pumps. He said the city residents were at present getting 225 litres per capita which was in excess of the average necessary consumption of 135 litres.
The residents understand the need to do away with pumps but are caught in a vicious circle . I can get water only if I use the pump, says Mr Avtar Singh of Gurbaksh Colony. He says he cannot afford to install a jet pump which would give him his own independent water supply. This seems to be the problem of most others. While a Tullu pump can be installed for less than Rs 10,0000, a jet pump costs nearly Rs 10,000.
Those residing in well-planned colonies say the residents of the inner city are the main culprits who have rendered the city water supply haywire due to use of Tullu pumps. A Yadavindra Colony resident said while the municipal corporation staff checked the main colonies for Tullu pumps off and on during the summers, they did not go into the walled city to check this menace. Most residents in such colonies have installed jet pumps to get water.
Residents of such colonies say it should be be made mandatory to have a water tank in the house. They said if two water tanks were created on the ground and upper floor water could be lifted to the upper floors through a lift pump without any problem. Those who fiddle with the main water line should be proceeded against severely, they added.
A survey of some outer colonies including Gurbaksh Nagar and Bishen Nagar revealed that many residents had also dug holes near the main line in their houses and established a T-point on the main line. Water flowing into the holes is taken out through buckets and other utensils.
Charitable medical centre opened
LUDHIANA, April 14 Citys first ultra modern and centrally air-conditioned charitable diagnostic centre was inaugurated here today by Mr Jawahar Oswal (Nahar Group) industrialist of the city. Mr Lajpatrai, member Rajya Sabha also present on the occasion.
Mr Sikandar Lal Jain, president of the Bhagwan Mahavir Jain Seva Sansthan, parent body of the centre, said that it would be have major OPD departments including dental, eyes, medicine, gynaecology and surgery equipped with the latest medical equipment like: blood auto analyser, blood cell counter, semi-automatic analyser, TMT machine, ultra sound scan and coloposcopy etc.
Mr Jain said that the cost of this six-storeyed project was Rs 6 crore and that the land measuring 560 square yards was donated by Mr Rajinder Kumar and the equipment for pathological and the blood chemistry laboratories were provided by Mr Jawahar Oswal.
Manmohan Singh gets
ROPAR, April 14 The SGPC has bestowed the honour of Nishan-e-Khalsa on Manmohan Singh posthumously for translating Guru Granth Sahib.
The author also compiled a Punjabi-English encyclopaedia, which contained over 2 lakh words and phrases. He died on September 25, 1969.
Addicts take to crime
BATHINDA: A large number of residents of Punjabs Malwa region, Sirsa district of Haryana and Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan, who have been booked on to drugs, have also taken to crime.
Atma Singh of Manakpur village in Hisar district of Haryana sold his three and half year son for Rs 500 for buying a dose of nasha in December 1999 at Bathinda city. The boy was, however, found by volunteers of the Sahara Welfare, Club and handed over to Atma Singh.
On April 4, Raju (25) of Rampura town of this district murdered his grand aunt in her house and took her jewellery to raise money to buy drugs.
A youth of Sriganganagar city set himself on fire in full public view when her mother refused to give him Rs 20 for buying a drug dose on March 21, 2000.
Jagtar Singh, a resident of Mahuana village in Muktsar district, killed seven heads of milch cattle to make arrangement of much needed cash for getting poppy husk.
The drug addicts of this area have also started stealing petrol and tyres to pay for drugs. The addicts were also indulging in other crimes.
The drug addiction not only has turned the people to crime but also have ruined them financially. Most drug addicts have sold their assets for buying drugs.
Around 6000 drug addicts of Sriganganagar district, who hail from Punjab, have become ragpickers from peasants. In order to satisfy their urge for bhang and poppy husk, they sold their agricultural land.
Ramesh Kumar, Ruldu Ram, Sujan Singh, Basant Singh and Roop Singh have become beggars in Sriganganagar. A few years ago they used to own big land holdings in Punjab. Erstwhile land owners of Punjab now on drugs can be seen roaming in early hours of the day in any street of Sriganganagar town.
Despite various measures taken by the governmental and non-governmental agencies to cheek drug addiction in this region, drug abuse has been increasing at an alarming rate.
In this region, more than 70 per cent residents are hooked to drugs. Drug abuse in the juveniles, especially in professional colleges, has also increased.
Due to close proximity to the Indo-Pakistan border, Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan have emerged major supply centre of opium and poppy husk. In many cities of Punjab and Haryana, bordering Rajasthan, drugs, including poppy husk and opium, from Rajasthan and Madhya Pardesh.
Certain chemist shops have also become sources of synthetic drugs in the region. In the past few years, the Bathinda district administration has detected a number of chemist shops selling drugs without valid licences.
Body found in temple pond
JALANDHAR, April 14 The body of a boy was fished out from the pond of Devi Talab Temple here this morning.
This is the second death to have occurred due to drowning in the pond since yesterday. Raman Kumar (15) was drowned after shipping from one of the stairs of the pond yesterday.
The body of Naveen
Kumar, a 17-year-old resident of Gazi Gulla Mohalla was
found this morning following a search launched by his
parents and relatives after he went missing last evening.
He had gone to the temple to take a dip in the holy pond
on the occasion of Baisakhi.
Man killed in road mishap
LUDHIANA, April 14 One person was killed and a few persons were injured in two separate road accidents during the past 24 hours.
Malkiat Singh was knocked down by a vehicle near the railway crossing at Dhandari Kalan yesterday. He later succumbed to his injuries at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital. He was on his way to the truck union office to hire a Tempo for going to Beas when the accident took place.
In another case, a few
persons were injured in an accident between a truck and a
three-wheeler near Samrala chowk on the night of April
11. The police has booked the driver of the truck,
Amarjit Singh, under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of
Booked for attempted rape
JALANDHAR, April 14 A son of a former employer of a minor Scheduled Caste girl has been booked by the police for attempting to rape her after forcibly entering her house in Helran village, near here, today.
The complainant had alleged that Ravinder Kumar, a resident of the same village, entered her house this afternoon, beat her up and tried to rape after bolting the door. But she was saved by her father. Ravinder Kumar is a son of a landlord of the same village in whose house she had been working as a maid till last year.
No arrest has been made so far, however, a case under Sections 354, 452, 376 and 511 of the IPC has been registered against him at the Sadar police station here.
Veena Rani, a housewife, who suffered serious burn
injuries in her house in Lamba Pind, near here, on April
8, succumbed to her injuries at the local Civil Hospital
on Thursday. She was admitted to the hospital after she
received injuries while making tea on a stove.
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